If you haven't implemented an SEO strategy yet, it's time to start thinking about it. Here are six surefire signs your business needs to invest in SEO.

6 Signs You Should Invest In SEO

If you’re running a small business, SEO is probably not on the top of your mind every day. You have too many other things to worry about, too many other tasks and details to take care of to keep your business running. And let’s face it, SEO isn’t exactly sexy.

However, just because it’s not top of mind, doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. SEO is a crucial strategy that will help your business succeed in the long-term. If you haven’t implemented an SEO strategy yet, it’s time to start thinking about it. Here are six surefire signs your business needs to invest in SEO, pronto.

1. You’re Operating On a Budget

If your business is running on a tight budget and your ad campaigns aren’t seeing a significant ROI, it’s time to shake things up and change your approach to finding new customers.

Many small businesses are hesitant to start paying for SEO services because of the initial cost. This is an unfortunate outlook, as search engine optimization will deliver high-value traffic for less money than ad campaigns over time.

SEO is a long-term investment that pays for itself many times over.

Once your website starts dominating search results for terms specific to the products or services your company sells, you will get a virtually unlimited supply of free, targeted traffic driven to your website. It might take some effort to get to the top, but once you’re there, the traffic flows in and you are exposed to an entirely new source of potential customers.

2. You Need More Leads

Your website is your #1 sales tool (and your cheapest employee). Think about it… it is always on, it says exactly what you want, and can meet with an unlimited number of prospects at any given time. Your website is an indispensable sales tool.

If your website isn’t generating new leads and customers, there are one of two issues that need to be addressed. First, the content needs to be high-converting copy and designed to drive signups and opt-ins. Second, you need to have targeted traffic landing on your website. After all, how is your #1 sales machine supposed to sell if nobody is interacting with it?

If you’re not getting organic traffic (people find your website from search engines), you’re missing out on a valuable source of new leads.

The beauty of SEO is that when searchers find your site, they are pre-qualified as prospects based on the very fact that they were searching for your product or service.

People are trying to do business with you. Are you ready to welcome them?

3. People Can’t Find Your Website (Your Website Isn’t Ranking For Your Brand Name)

Believe it or not, ranking for your own brand name is not a sure bet in the complex world of SEO. If you search for your company name, and you don’t show up in the #1 spot, you have a problem on your hands and it needs to be fixed ASAP.

If people can’t find you online by searching for your company name, how do you expect them to find you when they are searching for the products or services your business offers?

Fortunately, SEO companies can help!

4. The Cost of Click Ads (PPC) Is Overwhelming

A lot of internet marketers like to polarize SEO and PPC (pay-per-click advertising), telling you it’s an either/or strategy. This is the wrong approach.

SEO and PPC are meant to complement each other.

PPC is great for getting immediate results, driving targeted traffic to your website. But those results come with a pretty high price tag, and over time, a PPC campaign can get costly.

If you manage an AdWords account, you’ve probably looked at your monthly invoice and thought, “I spent how much on ads last month??” on at least two occasions. It’s not a good feeling. PPC costs can get out of control, and your business in a certain sense can become addicted to paid traffic.

Fortunately, there’s a way to wean a business off the PPC habit.

An SEO campaign is a sustainable, reliable source of traffic that will in the long run deliver organic results that you don’t have to pay for.

Together, PPC and SEO make a winning combination. You’ll spend less on AdWords every month, and supplement your traffic with organic search results.

All while getting more traffic, more leads, new customers and growing your business.

5. You Need Higher Quality Traffic

Is your conversion rate stagnant in the low single digits? Or worse, is it falling from a once-healthy 15%?

Is your website traffic just not rolling in like it used to before?

Are your visitors leaving your website (bouncing) before they opt-in or sign up?

These are common issues facing many small and local business owners. If your metrics are suffering, a boost of organic search traffic can get you back on course.

A search engine optimization campaign will introduce a new level of quality traffic to your website, and ultimately increase your conversion metrics and earn you more leads.

Don’t settle for stale website performance. Get new eyes and new traffic on your site now!

6. Your Competitors Are Showing Up Ahead of You In Online Searches

I might not know you or your business personally, but I can say with 99% certainty that you face at least some level of competition in your niche or industry. If you don’t have any competitors, consider yourself blessed. For everyone else, going head to head with your competitors is a daily grind.

An easy way to get an edge on your competition is through SEO. If your website shows up behind those of your competitors for search terms related to your offerings, you’re losing the online battle. You are losing money every single day your site is behind in search rankings. Stop it!

There is no reason you can’t be #1 in search results for keywords related to your business. When you show up at the top of Google, you get a leg up on your competition and you start winning.

If you’re ready to start winning and being at the top of the search results, contact us today. Let’s do this!

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5 Simple But Effective Ways to Improve Web Traffic for Your Local Business

5 Simple But Effective Ways to Improve Web Traffic for Your Local Business

In today’s increasingly tech-savvy world, the online presence of your business is of utmost importance. Without generating any web traffic, it’s nearly impossible for a local business to grow, let alone survive.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to improve web traffic for small businesses. With just a little bit of knowledge, you can spend an afternoon working on your website and see some drastic changes in incoming traffic over the next few months. Here are 5 simple but effective ways to improve web traffic for your local business:

#1 – Conduct a Simple SEO Audit

Making sure your website is on point from an SEO standpoint is the #1 way to drive organic traffic to your landing pages. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it essentially means making your web content easy for Google to understand and categorize. Your website consists of HTML, which search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing read.

There are several key elements search engines look for in your website markup that will give the strongest indications about your site’s content. Some of these elements include:

  • Page title – make sure the page title is specific to what your landing page is targeting.
  • Header tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) – place important keywords inside header tags to show search engines that these topics are the main point of your web page.
  • URL slug (the text in the url that comes after .com. For example: example.com/this-is-the-url-slug) – use keywords that indicate what the landing page is about. Do not use strings of numbers or symbols as they won’t help search engines understand what they can expect to find on your page.
  • Site navigation – your site navigation should be easy to follow, and break down into categories and sub-categories where appropriate.
  • Internal linking – it should be easy to get from one piece of content on your website to another. Search engines use internal links to understand how your pages and content are related, what the site hierarchy is, and general relevance for search queries.
  • Site performance and speed – this is a big one. If elements on your website or landing pages take long to load, Google and other search engines will view your site unfavorably (and so will your visitors… in fact, if a page on your site takes longer than one second to load, visitors are likely to leave before they even see the content).

These are just a few of the hundreds of factors that determine SEO performance. WP Hatch offers free SEO audits, which will show you specifically where your website excels with search engines, and where it could use some work. Contact us today for your free SEO audit.

#2 – Build Your Email List

Building an email or newsletter list is an important way to not only improve your web traffic, but also to get new sales and customers.

Having a robust email list is an easy way to drive traffic to your website, call attention to a new product or piece of content, and to make special offers to people who would otherwise most likely not be visiting your website regularly.

Creating an email list is easy. WP Hatch usually uses MailChimp, but there are dozens of other email service providers available at an affordable rate (including Campaign Monitor, EmmaConstant Contact, and many more).

Once you’ve created an account with an email service provider, you’ll want to implement an email capture tool on your website. Several new tech companies make this easy for you (we recommend HelloBar or SumoMe). These tools link to your ESP account and implement popups and on-screen messaging that encourages readers to join your email list.

As you grow your email list, you can send them friendly reminders about your services, products, web content, and special offers… all pointing back to your website, increasing your web traffic and sales.

Creating and connecting accounts with an email service provider and lead generation tool like HelloBar is simple, but if you just don’t have the time or have any questions, shoot us an email! We’re here to help 🙂

#3 – Make Sure Your Website Design is Responsive (Mobile-Friendly)

Did you know that the majority of Internet browsing is now done on smartphones? According to Smart Insights, 51% of digital media consumption is now done on mobile phones, compared to desktop computers (which comes in at just 42%). The crazy thing is that mobile phone Internet browsing is rising drastically, every single day.

What this means for you is that your website needs to not just work on mobile phones, but it needs to look great for your visitors. In fact, it’s so important that search engines like Google look at whether websites are mobile-friendly (or “responsive”) as a key SEO factor. If your website is not responsive, you’re missing out on some serious web traffic, and your search rankings are suffering!

Fortunately, Google has a great tool that will help you determine if your website is mobile-friendly called Mobile-Friendly Test (clever, huh?). Run the test to check whether your site works for mobile devices. If not, you should strongly consider updating your site to be mobile friendly. (Hint: if you don’t have access to a developer or web designer, WP Hatch can help!)

#4 – Use Explainer Videos

Slick landing pages are awesome, but a recent web trend for small businesses is to incorporate videos onto websites to describe offerings. You’ve probably seen some already—they’re often animated or sketched drawings that explain the core offerings from a business.

The key advantage of explainer videos is that they capture your visitor’s interest, and explain your product or service in a way that is easily digestible. Further, online video consumption is growing at a rapid pace, with many web surfers preferring to take info in the form of a video rather than text. If that’s not enough motivation, videos actually improve SEO for most websites.

WP Hatch offers affordable animated explainer videos. Our videos start at just $99 per minute, but act fast: prices are about to go up as demand increases.

#5 – Establish a Social Media Presence

Social Media is by no means a new trend, but the staggering amount of user engagement continues to surprise industry experts.

Social Media Statistics

Mind-boggling social media statistics from BrandWatch.com.

Establishing a social media presence is a great way to grow your business. It will allow you to engage with your existing customers and fans, turning them into repeat buyers. Having a strong social media following will also enable you to find a new audience, and convert them into loyal customers.

While having a strong social media presence is important for businesses of all sizes, it’s worth noting that not every social media platform makes sense for every business. It’s best to be selective and choose 2-3 social media channels to dive into, and do them well. If you aren’t sure which social media platform makes the most sense for your business, drop us a line! We’d love to help you figure out a social media strategy to grow your business.

Conclusion

The idea of making proactive changes to a website to increase performance and traffic can be daunting at first, but if you follow the steps above, you will notice significant changes in your web traffic in the following months. And this is just the tip of the iceberg—there are hundreds of more ways for you to improve search rankings, organic traffic, and online presence.

Are you on a mission to improve web traffic for your business? What’s working for you? What are your hangups? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Power of Radio Promotion

The Power of Radio Promotion

Mark Kasoff is an excellent researcher, and a smart guy, and I don’t say that just because of the findings in his new study on the attitudes and behavior of radio listeners regarding contests.

In his article, Listeners Surprisingly Positive on Contests, Mark points to the growing power of interactive promotions that we’ve observed for the last few years. He says,

I’ve never pushed contesting as a panacea for (radio) stations. A good contest can’t make a bad station successful… Yes, contests can be a real edge for a station, and for traditional radio in general.”

Kasoff’s survey of 18-64 year old radio listeners supports the conclusions of consultant Alan Burns, and provides another reason for broadcasters to increase their attention on this traditional radio advantage.

His findings prove that contests: a) make a station more interesting to listen to, and b) positively affect at least 1/3 of the audience to listen more almost no downside risk.

Kasoff says,

I’m blown away by these numbers. Even if we toss in the requisite ‘grain of salt’, there’s no conclusion other than contesting can be a very good thing!

And, check this out: 12% agree a lot with the statement: You would listen to a station you don’t like just for a chance to win its contest!

Combine this information with the Burns observation that contest players are 55% more likely to participate with a radio ratings service, and you begin to understand the value of having a relationship with “contest types.”

We conducted our own research with embedded survey questions in (enter to win) giveaways. In one market, we found 689 entrants who said that they were currently participating in a radio service that asks you to record your radio listening.

Kasoff concludes:

It’s true that contests have no impact on the majority of listeners’ interest in a station, or how much they listen to it. But there remains a substantial percentage that are impacted by contests, and in an overwhelmingly positive way.

Better yet: Those that are affected, are precisely the ones you want and need to reach.

Though Kasoff and Burns stop short of suggesting tactics for engaging these high value respondents, they both likely would support an aggressive on-air contesting strategy.

We agree with that premise, but take it one step further: What if you had a direct, one-to-one relationship with those folks, and could communicate with them at any time in a series of connected, interactive promotions that led them back to specific appointment tune in occasions? Day after day, week after week?

WP Hatch can help you find them and recruit them as high value listener respondents. Contact us to get started.

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Using Online Promotions and Giveaways to Get to Know Your Audience

Using Online Promotions and Giveaways to Get to Know Your Audience

Data has been described as the new gold. Generating qualified respondents relies on accurate, actionable data, and gathering that information is about knowing what to ask, how to ask it, and making it worth listener’s time to respond.

If you ask it the right way, you can learn virtually anything about your audience. Do you need to know how your radio station is perceived against competitors? We can do that. What other stations do they listen to? No problem. When and why do they tune out? And what unique features on your station bring them back? Do they listen at work? The possibilities are endless.

By extending promotion offers beyond your current audience, we can even identify those prospects who may not listen now, but fit your station target audience. With a direct relationship, you can lead them to tune-in sampling.

Does it work? Yes! In a recent promotion for one of our clients, 97% of all entrants answered at least three questions, resulting in over 8,200 responses, each a prospective new listener that could deliver 1/4 hours indefinitely, if you manage the database properly and invite them to participate based on their interests.

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Using a Smart Database to Increase Radio Ratings

Using a Smart Database to Increase Radio Ratings

What if you could know everything about your listener?

When they listen. Their music preference. Why they listen. What they do in their spare time. The prizes they want to win. Their relationship status. Where they work. When they work.

With knowledge of their tastes, behavior and perceptions, your messages can be targeted specifically to an individual in a deeply personal way.

By leveraging the power of digital tools, social media and mobile engagement, our techniques develop smart profiles that identify characteristics and lead to a direct, one-to-one relationship with your audience…and even better: Potential listeners who may not have discovered you yet!

Armed with actionable, meaningful data, direct marketing tactics will cause ratings to soar. One client increased 1/4 hour share by 26% in just six weeks. 

That’s not just a smart database, it’s smart marketing. And it fits perfectly into your existing programming.

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Why Email Marketing is Critical To Success

Why Email Marketing is Critical To Success

Almost every adult checks their email every single day. According to data, the figure ranges from 88% to as much as 95%. That’s more than visit any other platform, including Facebook!

Of course, competition for space in the inbox is fierce, but email remains an inexpensive and critical means of communicating to fans and potential fans. So here’s why YOU should care about growing your database:

  1. You Own It. Facebook Likes and Twitter followers are in other platforms. Their reach is powerful, but it’s mediated by a third party. The email addresses are yours forever, and nobody can take them away from you by changing policies or denying access.
  2. Personal Connections. Your email list is a goldmine, if you use it properly. It allows you to understand listeners and their preferences. Targeting relevant messages to the right people is virtually unmatched with email marketing, if you take the time to gather the right data first.
  3. Email is Effective. Facebook reach (the number of fans who actually see posts in their News Feed) is only 6%. Targeted, relevant email open rates are usually in the 20-30% range, some even higher. Your message is 5 times more likely to be seen in an email than on Facebook!
  4. Email Drives Response. 2/3 of online customers make purchases as a result of email. Delivering the right message with an attractive offer delivers results.
  5. It’s Easy to Do. It’s not that expensive to design and send emails. And, with the right message, you can send them frequently.
  6. It’s a Profit Center. By extending your reach to advertisers, and helping them find new customers, your email list becomes a new media, with tremendous revenue potential.

As part of our digital strategies, we help you build smart databases – and make the most of them by. As your database grows, your response rates increase and revenue skyrockets. Let us help you get started!

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How to Get More Radio Listeners: Bribe 'em & Buy 'em

How to Get More Radio Listeners: Bribe ’em & Buy ’em

When we’re talking with programmers about the value of contests and sweepstakes in their promotion strategy, we inevitably have a conversation about the value of the type of person that enters to win.

The concept of Bribe Them and Buy Them is a marketing technique to attract customers beyond that which the product can generate on its own.

Incentives (coupons, discounts, free gifts, or a chance to win) are important tactics in a marketing strategy. and no business is better at providing incentives to take action than radio.

A giveaway is easy and fast to implement, provide results in real time, are cost-effective and deliver measurable, accountable return on investment (ROI).

Sandra Fathi, President of Affect Strategies, says,

I have yet to find an organization — business-to-business or business-to-consumer — that would not benefit from some type of online contest.

Used properly (and following up with respondents) can help you:

  • Accelerate social media participation
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate “heat” on your station
  • Increase tune-in
  • Drive listening occasions
  • Reward existing customers

How To Conduct Your Own Giveaways & Contests

1. Create the Contest. Sweepstakes are a random drawing, but for contests, there are many ways to choose a winner, including video, photo or essay submissions. Public voting is an especially popular choice, as it involves entrants to spread your promotion to their friends. When setting up your contest, be sure to observe laws that may affect entry eligibility. c.saw media + promotions can advise you and help you develop a campaign that fits your needs.

2. Choose the technology. You have many choices here. Choosing the right one is key to your campaign’s success. We bring you alternatives that fit your budget and accomplish your goals.

3. Allocate Resources. It’s highly likely that the marketing department, sales department, legal department and PR team will all be involved in a successful contest. Your campaign will require attention, time and promotion. If you don’t have resources in-house, you can outsource management. We can offer contest administration and management services, and can operate your promotion with no disruption to your team.

4. Prizes. The incentive that drives your audience to act is an important consideration. If you know your target audience, you should be able to design an attractive prize that appeals to them. It’s important to match the offering to your objectives as well as consider the effort required to enter, which is especially important for contests.

Sandra says:

If I just have to provide my email address to enter to win a free ice cream cone, that might be enough of an incentive. However, if I need to create a commercial for an ice cream brand, including write a script, create a video and solicit votes, my prize better be at least a truckload of ice cream.

5. Harvest the Leads. Attention is only valuable if you act on the new contact you’ve acquired. How you follow up to turn a contact into revenue is the most important part of any campaign. For best results, respond quickly, succinctly, and provide an additional incentive for taking another action. In all communication, deliver a specific, targeted message based on the intelligence you’ve collected in the entry process.

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Advertiser-Centric Promotions

Advertiser-Centric Promotions

It’s no secret that advertisers are changing the way they allocate ad spending, directing more of their budgets to interactive digital media. Radio sales managers have found this a challenge, but should be celebrating!

Borrell & Associates Local Promotions Forecast notes that local marketers love promotions. The report shows that advertisers are spending more and more on contests, promotions, discounts and coupons and

“…there appears to be no turning back… (Advertisers are) collecting more email addresses. In 2012, they spent 81% more on promotions, and should reach $176 BILLION in 2013.”

Find out why radio is the ideal medium to capitalize on this exciting trend. Contact us to learn how we can help you:

  • Proof that ratings respondents are contest players. That’s one of the key reasons that promotions matter to radio programmers.
  • Why building a smart database is a key to your ratings success… and can deliver hundreds of thousands of non-spot revenue! If you’re not doing it yet, let me help you get started!
  • How to get advertisers to pay you to find ratings respondents – and steal listeners from your competition!
  • Tactics that will ensure success of your next promotion before you ever run a single promo on the air!
  • How to generate real non-spot revenue… by generating sales without adding promos!
  • New ways to deliver accountable results including hot leads in real time—directly to your advertisers!
  • New routes to revenue-generation, including promotions that generate real-time hot leads for advertisers… and ring your cash register with each qualified entry.
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